It was going to be a busy night, but not unmanageable. Teacher and I had coordinated schedules and transportation so everything meshed like a well-oiled machine. Easy peasy! Or so we thought…
The plan was:
- 5:00 – Princess would arrive back at school from the Children’s Hospital after dropping off a donation of books she and a bunch of friends had raised funds to purchase. College Boy was picking her up from school because I was still working and Teacher was starting dinner.
- 5:20 – Eat dinner. Teacher was making chicken quesadillas – quick, easy and oh-so yummy!
- 6:00 – Teacher, Jo-Bear and Angel Face would leave for their soccer games. Teacher is the coach for Angel Face’s team, and this year Jo-Bear’s team plays most of its games in the soccer complex near Teacher and Angel Face’s field. How convenient is that?!
- 6:30 – Princess, Z-Man, Little Guy and I would leave for handbells. It was our last night of the year, when we traditionally polish the bells before storing them all summer. Then we go out for ice cream afterward.
- 7:00 – Jo-Bear and a friend would be taken to Badger Sports park by his friend’s dad, who’s also the boys’ soccer coach.
- 8:00 – Jo-Bear would be dropped off at church, a mere 5 minute drive from the ice cream shop, where I’d pick him up.
- 8:30 – Everyone would be home and get ready for bed.
Looks fairly simple, doesn’t it? But of course it couldn’t be that easy… The first wrench was thrown into the works barely 5 minutes after College Boy left to pick up Princess. Princess called to say that she was going to be late getting back to school because the van she was riding in wouldn’t start. And since she was going to be late anyway, could she grab a bite to eat with her friends as long as she got to church in time for handbells? I said she could, then cut the conversation short so I could call College Boy and tell him that Princess didn’t need a ride home.
I called College Boy but he didn’t answer so I left a message. I suspected that he hadn’t taken his phone with him, but I still called every 10 minutes, just in case. As the clock inched past 5:30 I wondered if I should drive up to school to get him. I wasn’t sure how long he would wait since the previous day when he’d gone to pick up his sister he waited a little while, came home, and ended up having to turn right around to go back and get her. I figured this time he’d sit around forever to avoid the extra trip. It’s a good 20-30 minute drive to school and back so I didn’t want to go if I didn’t have to, but I also didn’t want him sitting at school forever. Besides, he had the van with the little boys’ car seats in it!
Teacher offered to stop at school on the way to the soccer complex, but I was worried that they’d be late, so I told him not to worry about it. Instead I called my mom to see if she could watch the little boys while I ran up to school to get College Boy. Teacher was about ready to leave with Angel Face and Jo-Bear so there’d be no-one home with them, and since I didn’t have car seats I couldn’t take them along. While I was on the phone Princess called again to tell us that she’d stopped at school and told College Boy that she didn’t need a ride. I called my mom back to tell her that she didn’t need to watch the boys, and as I was talking Call Waiting beeped again – this time it was Uncle Jay calling just to say “Hi”. I’m ashamed to admit that I was a bit short and rude to him, but my stress level was soaring from the whole College Boy/Princess scenario, plus I still had to clean up dinner, check the diaper bag and get myself and the little boys out of the door on time.
As I said “Goodbye” to Uncle Jay, College Boy drove up in the van. Whew! I took a deep breath, and quickly made him two quesadillas for dinner before leaving. He’s lazy and would rather not eat than make something for himself. The little boys were very cooperative and helped find their shoes, socks and coats so we were able to leave on time. The boys and I arrived shortly after everyone else, and with all the hands helping it wasn’t long before the bells were polished and we were on our way for ice cream!
The members of the bell choir all get along very well together and time just flew as we chatted and laughed over our ice cream. Suddenly it was 5 to 8 and I had to run back to church to get Jo-Bear. The little boys were still working on their ice cream so I left them there with Princess and my dad, who’s a member of the bell choir. I figured it would take 10 minutes to run back to church, pick up Jo-Bear, and get back. Silly me, I should have known that it wouldn’t be that easy!
At 8:15 Jo-Bear still hadn’t arrived. I was getting tired of waiting in an empty parking lot, worried about how the little boys were behaving at the ice cream shop, and worried about where Jo-Bear was. My dad didn’t have his cell phone with him He rarely does so I called my friend Cindy’s cell phone instead. I figured she’d be hanging around the ice cream shop with everyone else until I came back. I was right, and she relayed the message that Jo-Bear hadn’t arrived yet. Then I called my mom to ask her if Jo-Bear had arrived at her doorstep, or if maybe he was at home. My parents live just two doors down so the kids go to their house if they’re ever locked out of ours. Jo-Bear wasn’t at Grandma’s, and when she walked to our house to see if he was there he wasn’t. I settled down to wait, and wait, and wait.
I’m not very patient and after about 15 more mind-numbing minutes I couldn’t take it. I called home to see if Teacher had arrived back from his soccer game yet, and have him check the phone for messages. He was home but there was no message. I began to worry that there was a miscommunication and Jo-Bear had been left out at Badger Sports Park for us to pick him up, so I called Cindy’s cell phone again. I suggested that my dad leave the little boys with Princess and come to church to take my place so I could pick up Princess and the little boys. He arrived shortly after and offered to stay at church so I could run out to Badger Sports Park after the ice cream shop. My dad’s an absolute jewel, even if he never carries his cell phone with him.
As I pulled into a parking space at the ice cream shop my cell phone rang. It was Jo-Bear, calling to say that they’d “run over a little” because they were having so much fun. It was 8:45 – I’d say they’d gone over “a little”! Jo-Bear’s friend’s dad had offered to take Jo-Bear home, but since they were just up the road I told him to go to church instead and to “tell Grandpa that you talked to me and he should take you home.” I figured that since my dad had been so accommodating the least I could do was let him take Jo-Bear home right away instead of waiting for me to stop by church and tell him to go home.
Inside the ice cream shop the little boys were entertaining Princess, Cindy, another bell choir member, Diane, and the rest of the patrons. Little Guy was running around in circles like the Energizer Bunny and Z-Man was singing the ABC song. Luckily the boys are so cute no-one seemed to mind! Princess and I packed them up and headed home, thanking Diane and Cindy for staying around to help out.
Although things didn’t go like we’d planned, causing unnecessary stress and worry, this fiasco taught me two valuable lessons: First, don’t let the kids go anywhere with anyone except their parents or grandparents. OK, I realize it’s not realistic, but it would make life MUCH less stressful! Secondly, always, always, ALWAYS carry your cell phone and make sure it’s charged and on!